Comptroller Stringer Calls for Action as Latinas Experience Largest Wage Gap Among Women in New York City
October 31, 2018
(New York, NY) — Today, ahead of Latina Equal Pay Day on November 1st, New York City Comptroller Scott M. Stringer called for action after releasing his new report revealing Latinas, despite their vast contributions to the city, experience the largest gender and racial wage gap among women living in New York. The day of recognition—which is held each year on the day that a Latina’s earnings would “catch up” to a white man’s from the previous year—would be held on January 16, 2019 if the City observed its own day, meaning Latinas in NYC have to work more than two years to make what white men make in a single year.
The report, Inside the Gender Wage Gap, Part II, also found that Latinas account for more female-headed households with children in the city than any other group of women in New York. As the primary breadwinners of households with multiple generations, and one in three women employed in lower-wage service occupations, Latinas undertake not only the majority of the paid care work in the city but also a disproportionate share of its unpaid care work—all while having the fewest financial resources to do so.
“Latinas are powering New York, yet the city is failing to give them the same economic security a white man can expect. Every day we fail to act, we deny them the opportunity to pursue more education, support their families, and tap into the wealth New York City has to offer,” said Comptroller Stringer. “We need to give greater access to better wages, affordable childcare, educational opportunities, and fight against discrimination. If New York is going to continue to be a progressive leader in this country, we must commit ourselves to closing the wage gap. Because women of color are already doing the work – it’s on us to listen and follow their lead.”
Findings detailed in the brief include:
- Latinas experience the largest wage gap among women of color. In 2016, Latinas working full-time in New York City made 49 cents for every dollar paid to white men—roughly $38,000 less on average;
- The wage gap for Latinas in New York City (51 cents) is larger than for Latinas in New York (44 cents) and Latinas in the U.S. (46 cents). If New York City were to observe its own local Latina Equal Pay Day, it would not be until January 16th, 2019.
- Over a 40-year career, the median full-time working Latina in New York City would lose on average $1.5 million in earnings due to the gender wage gap. She would have to work an additional 42 years, more than two careers over, to attain the same earnings as the median full-time employed white man.
- If the gender wage gap were closed, the more than 300,000 Latinas working full-time, year-round in New York City would have collectively contributed roughly $11.8 billion more in earnings to the local economy.
- Three in ten (29.5 percent) Latinas live in poverty in New York City, the highest poverty rate of all groups and three times the poverty rate among white men (9.8 percent). More than half (53.4 percent) of employed Latinas make less than $25,000.
- Latinas make up more than one-tenth (12.6 percent) of the city’s labor force but are underrepresented in higher-wage occupations, holding roughly one in five (20.3 percent) jobs in the lower-wage service industry.
The analysis shows the gender wage gap not only harms individual Latinas and their families, limiting their ability to afford housing and other necessities, pay down debt, and build savings for the future, it also reinforces generational disparities in wealth and constrains economic activity in communities across the city.
To address these inequities and close existing gender pay gaps, Comptroller Stringer is calling for the following actions:
- Guarantee access to family-sustaining wages: New York City and New York State should promote additional strategies to raise wages, strengthen protections, and address the devaluing of jobs in which women are overrepresented. This includes supporting existing campaigns to increase and enhance the Earned Income Tax Credit, and boost the wages of New York City’s early childhood educators, the majority of whom are women;
- Expand and create equitable access to affordable child care and paid leave: Greater access to resources like child care as well as paid time off to provide care for loved ones would help Latinas remain connected to the workforce and advance in their careers. Strategies to achieve this include expanding access to child care, including for women who work nontraditional hours such as nights and weekends, typical of service-sector jobs;
- Invest in programs to increase educational and occupational equity: The City should ensure City Hall and every City agency has a Chief Diversity Officer to drive investments in Latinas’ leadership as well as Latina-owned businesses. In order to address educational and occupational segregation, other policies and programs should be explored that support access to higher education and increase recruitment in occupations in which Latinas have historically been underrepresented; and
- Strengthen enforcement of anti-discrimination laws and practices: New York City has among the strongest anti-discrimination laws in the country, and oversight and enforcement of these laws must remain vigilant. The City must ensure Latinas are aware of available reporting mechanisms and are able to safely come forward to share experiences of discrimination.
To read the report, click here.